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Understanding your Miranda rights

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Thinking straight and acting rationally can be challenging when you are under arrest. You may experience many different emotions, including fear, anger and shock, all at once.

When you panic under such circumstances, you may act in ways that may further complicate the situation. Remembering that you have rights and staying calm can help you navigate through this tricky situation. Knowing and understanding your Miranda rights may help you avoid self-incrimination.

What are Miranda rights?

Your Miranda rights refer your rights upon arrest, including:

  • The right to remain silent and not answer questions
  • The right to understand that what you say during questioning may be used against you in court
  • To have access to a lawyer at any time during your arrest

Whoever is arresting you must inform you of these rights after your arrest and before the questioning begins. Simply hearing your rights is not sufficient, you need to clearly invoke them. This means categorically stating the police that you choose to exercise your right to remain silent – and actually remaining silent. Speaking after invoking your right to silence may imply that you are waiving that right.

Are you waiving your rights?

You may expressly waive your rights by signing a statement, but it is generally recommended that you consult with an attorney before you do so.

One thing you need to keep in mind about your Miranda rights is that your right to an attorney is crucial. Once you inform the police of your desire to speak with your lawyer, all questioning must stop at once. They should allow you to contact your lawyer right away. Until your attorney arrives, it may be wise to stay absolutely silent and refrain from engaging even in small talk. Being at ease may cause you to drop your guard and say something incriminating, so it may be best to wait for your attorney’s instructions on the best way to respond to questions.

Facing an arrest can be stressful and traumatic, but remaining calm and allowing your lawyer to evaluate your arrest and determine if there was a violation of your rights may help you get through the ordeal calmly.